Fire Destroys East Lansing Mormon Church

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On Sunday, a fire destroyed the Mormon Church on Saginaw Road near Abbott in East Lansing.

Neighbors called the fire department around 3:50 a.m. Sunday when they smelled smoke. Firefighters from East Lansing, Lansing and Meridian Township helped fight the flames for more than thirteen hours. The fire destroyed everything including pianos, musical organs and genealogy records.

Church members joined congregations in Holt and Downtown Lansing for Sunday morning sermons. Some church members fear an arsonist set the fire, but investigators say they still don't know what caused the blaze.

According to the East Lansing fire marshal, Bob Pratt, fire destroyed parts of the church more than 10 years ago. In 1989, a juvenile with a lighter set one room on fire. That fire ruined some camping equipment stored at the church. In 1990, someone vandalized and set fire to several rooms in the church on Halloween night. Firefighters say that may have been a Halloween prank.

Church members and community members used the church to track family history. The Mormon Church had hard-back books and microfilm containing historical information that dates back hundreds of years. The Mormon Church in Salt Lake City, UT has back-up files for most of those records, but some church members say a few items cannot be replaced.